Irish Artist, Robyn Ward’s New Solo Exhibition “Walking in the Dark” Launches On the Eve of Frieze London Art Fair
The artist, who has collaborated with The Big Pink Robbie Furze on the show, co-hosted a star studded dinner, auction and private view in aid of Cancer Research UK on opening night.
Contemporary Irish artist Robyn Ward hosted a celebrity-packed dinner on 5 October 2023, in aid of Cancer Research UK on the eve of the opening of his immersive solo exhibition Walking in the Dark.
High-profile guests from the worlds of film, TV, theatre, music and modelling mingled at the invitation-only event at The Old Session House, Clerkenwell Green, London, which raised hundreds of thousands of pounds for the charitable cause.
Supported by his close friend and collaborator Robbie Furze of English rock band The Big Pink, Ward is dedicating 100 per cent of the revenues from the event to Cancer Research UK which funds prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer. It is a cause close to both their hearts, as they both have had family members affected by the disease.
Robyn Ward has successfully raised money for a variety of different charitable causes over the years, and was encouraged to support Cancer Research UK by Furze — who launched The Pamela Ann Foundation in memory of his mother, who has been battling the disease for a number of years. The pair have previously supported events in aid of Teen Cancer Trust, but this is the first time they have worked creatively together. It is expected it will not be the last, as the pair have plans to take Walking in the Dark to other global art fairs including Art Basel in Switzerland, Miami and Hong Kong.
Walking in the Dark, which enjoyed a highly successful and much-praised run in New York earlier this year, will run until 15 October 2023 alongside the world-famous Frieze London art fair, which sees the world’s top investors, critics and artists descend on the capital.
Curated by artistic director Shai Baitel, Walking in the Dark features 22 large painted canvases and six freestanding sculptures inspired by Ward’s own nomadic lifestyle driven by a need for both escapism and avoidance.
The main exhibition space will contain Ward’s artworks of abstract compositions and mixed media sculptures, while in the basement of Walking in the Dark, visitors will be able to experience pitch-black darkness, reflecting the deep subconsciousness of the artist and his creative process.
Furze has written an original composition for the immersive element of the exhibition, which will see visitors explore Ward’s artwork in the darkness by the use of miner’s headlamps.
Ward says, “Robbie has composed something beautiful which links the paintings and the music together in an incredible way. It will be as if people are actually exploring my own subconscious in the darkness, which makes Robbie’s soundtrack such an important part of the experience. It really brings my emotions to life.”
Furze adds, “I love creating atmospheres and soundscapes and I like to think that my music creates an almost meditative effect, so you can appreciate Robyn’s work even more by enhancing the whole experience, working with it rather than distracting from it.”
Born in Ireland and raised in Northern Ireland, Ward takes his personal experience of destruction, chaos and the breakdown of society and relates it to both historical and modern-day global conflict. Walking in the Dark looks at the themes of migration and traumas — both national and personal — and asks questions like, “Why do people roam?” & “What is the aftermath of perpetual movement?”
Ward himself left Dublin when he was four years old, moving to Belfast where he lived until he was 18. He shares, “From 18 to 25 I don’t think I spent more than seven or eight months in a row in one city. I think that, combined with never really being settled in Belfast, led me to lead quite a nomadic lifestyle.”
Ward has worked under many pseudonyms and different collectives throughout the years. He has exhibited at the Museo Tamayo and the Museo Nacional De Arte in Mexico City, with paintings included in a number of key auctions and exhibitions in New York, London, Los Angeles, Paris and Hong Kong, among others.
Baitel says, “To embark on Ward’s art journey and see the subtlety of this ubiquitous psychological tension manifested in his work requires an openness to experiencing catharsis this impactful — of seeing one’s life in all its tensions and contradictions reflected through the artist’s creation.”
“Like the abstracted nature of Ward’s artworks, a nomadic sensibility often abstracts the deeper reasons for such roaming. His work begets questions around what exactly Ward is veiling through his travels. Like the act of walking in the dark, viewing Ward’s work requires one’s eyes to adjust to see what would otherwise not be detected.”
“In Ward’s work there is energy, a level of brightness, that shows the ability and possibility to emerge from and embrace the shadow.”
Walking in the Dark will be open by appointment between 11am to 6pm daily from 7-12 October 2023, no appointment is needed from 13-15 October 2023.
Walking in the Dark, Knotel at Old Sessions House
23 Clerkenwell Green, London EC1R 0NA
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